U.S. Senators Rail Against Drunk Driving Checkpoint Avoidance App

March 23, 2011 -

Four United States Senators are not happy with an application that they say helps drunk drivers avoid checkpoints and they are demanding that a number of app stores yank it immediately. Sens. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Tom Udall (D-NM) have asked Apple iPhone head Scott Forstall, Google's CEO Eric Schmidt and Research in Motion's (RIM) co-CEOs, James Balsillie and Michael Lazaridis to pull an undisclosed number of apps.

"Giving drunk drivers a free tool to evade checkpoints, putting innocent families and children at risk, is a matter of public concern," the senators said in a letter to the executives of the three companies. "We hope that you will give our request to remove these applications from your store immediate consideration."

While the focus is on an app called PhantomALERT, there are other apps that the Senators asked to be removed. All of them have to do with drinking and driving apparently. PhantomALERT, developed and published by a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based company of the same name, is an app described by the makers as "the world's largest driver generated and verified database of speed traps, red light cameras, speed cameras, school zones, DUI checkpoints, dangerous intersections and more across North America."

The CEO of PhantomALERT, Joe Scott, calls the reaction to his company's app "knee-jerk":

"I think this is a knee-jerk reaction," said Joe Scott, the CEO OF PhantomALERT. "PhantomALERT is a 100% legal service. If they really understood what we are doing and aim to achieve they would actually support us."

Scott added that the app simply broadcasts information provided by the police. Police often announce sobriety checkpoints on the radio and television because it often proves to be a deterrent. More from Scott:

"Many police departments promote or advertise DUI [driving under the influence] crackdowns through the media as PSAs or through PR," Scott said. "We are just taking it a bit further and pushing the info to drivers through GPS and smart phone technology. The idea is to deter drivers from drinking and driving. When drivers get alerts for DUI checkpoints on their smart phones and GPS, they will think twice about drinking and driving."

Whatever the argument, chances are PhantomALERT will be pulled from most of these app stores. Apple has pulled apps from its store for less obvious reasons, after all.

Source: Computer World by way of Uncharted NES. Image credit: DWI Blog


Comments

Re: U.S. Senators Rail Against Drunk Driving Checkpoint ...

Yeah, it does seem to be a bit of a knee jerk reaction. I mean, most people who are above the legal limit can't handle using a phone properly anyway.

Re: U.S. Senators Rail Against Drunk Driving Checkpoint ...

Well first off, IIRC there is already a legal requirement for police to disclose where DUI checkpoints are going to be set up, in advance.

Second, this app is just as useful for people who are not drunk, because even sober people don't want to wait in line in the early a.m. just to return home.

Re: U.S. Senators Rail Against Drunk Driving Checkpoint ...

 All four senators are democrats.  Nice to see them further eroding the 1st Amendment.  

Re: U.S. Senators Rail Against Drunk Driving Checkpoint ...

They're not trying to make a law against these apps, they're simply requesting that these companies voluntarily discontinue this feature. There is no first amendment issue here.

Re: U.S. Senators Rail Against Drunk Driving Checkpoint ...

Because republicans would never erode rig *achpatriotacthchoo* erode rights.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: U.S. Senators Rail Against Drunk Driving Checkpoint ...

Well how will U.S. Senators avoid getting DUI's now?

Re: U.S. Senators Rail Against Drunk Driving Checkpoint ...

Senators drive themselves?  I thought they would have people to do that for them.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: U.S. Senators Rail Against Drunk Driving Checkpoint ...

The same way they always have. Threatening to pull funding from the police force.

If anyone really thinks that politicians are treated equally under the law, they are naive.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: U.S. Senators Rail Against Drunk Driving Checkpoint ...

I cannot find phantom alert on either the google or apple app store. 

http://fuzzalert.com/ however is online, and allows anonymous web surfers to report these things. If you don't like what they are doing, go in there and report a bunch of bogus locations.

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
Matthew Wilsonand yes they went way way over budget from what I read.04/27/2015 - 12:33pm
Matthew Wilson@AE if they cancaled it there would be massive outrage, but people tend to be ok with a delayed game.04/27/2015 - 12:32pm
IvresseBleh, can't edit shout on my phone :-/04/27/2015 - 12:32pm
Andrew EisenHell, the Kickstarter itself raised WAY more than DF was asking but I saw no accusations of impropriety.04/27/2015 - 12:31pm
Andrew EisenA little over three years later (two and a half years after the estimated delivery date), the Double Fine Adventure Kickstarter finally delivered the game. Oddly, I never saw anyone accuse Double Fine of scamming or conning anyone.04/27/2015 - 12:30pm
Ivresse@PHX Corp: Not only that, but Konami have just delisted themselves from the NYSE:http://polygon.com/e/8267934?utm_campaign=polygon&utm_content=chorus&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter04/27/2015 - 12:28pm
Matthew Wilsonwhile I felt bad for everyone outside the US who wanted to watch the HOTS finals, the fact it was on espn 2 in prime time is a major major step forward for video games.04/27/2015 - 12:14pm
james_fudgeThanks Papa!04/27/2015 - 10:43am
PHX Corphttp://kotaku.com/its-official-silent-hills-is-cancelled-1700379816# It's Official: Silent Hills Is Cancelled04/27/2015 - 9:48am
Papa MidnightI also hope that legislation holds the individual(s) who initiated the action is criminally liable for any and all harm that may come to persons involved (whether it be the cops or the victim(s)), as well as any property damaged suffered by any party.04/27/2015 - 8:16am
Papa MidnightJames: Small typographical error in the article for the NY Congressman's legislation: earlier is misspelled as "earlkier" (context: "Chuck Schumer (D) earlkier this month.")04/27/2015 - 8:14am
Matthew WilsonUC berkeley won, and they 3 years of free tuition for winning.04/26/2015 - 11:26pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://espn.go.com/watchespn/…/id/2497649/Heroes-of-the-Dorm heroes of the storm is being broadcast live on espn 2 never thought a moba would get a time slot like this on tv.04/26/2015 - 9:30pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://reason.com/archives/2015/04/09/the-dmca-chill-factor this is why the dmca should be changed or gotten rid off.04/26/2015 - 6:41pm
PHX Corphttp://www.thejimquisition.com/2015/04/assassins-creed-chronicles-china-review/ anyone seen this04/26/2015 - 4:19pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.destructoid.com/director-del-toro-says-silent-hi… Can not say I am surprised sadly. I feel bad for del Toro because every time he tries to do a video game project it falls apart.04/26/2015 - 1:42pm
InfophileAnyone play any of the following games: War Thunder, Infinite Crisis, or Strife? Got a card for a big chunk of money in them with my new computer which I won't need and looking to give it away if anyone wants it.04/26/2015 - 9:02am
Mattsworknamei I hope there is, I love that series.04/25/2015 - 5:59pm
Matthew Wilson@matt I am sure there will never be a armored core game04/25/2015 - 5:24pm
Mattsworknameof From softwares recent games, bloodborne is the best work they have done yet, though they really need to get to work on armored core 604/25/2015 - 5:10pm
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician